July1 , 2022

Six rules every poultry farmer should live by

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Six rules every poultry farmer should live by

For every farmer, the biggest burden has always been on how to protect their treasured flocks against diseases and pests that threaten to wipe their hard-earned investment.

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The flock sizes in Kenya and most part of the developing countries are limited to 300-500 flock sizes in a 1/8 piece of land size.

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These farms supply 70 per cent of the farm chicken sold in major cities thus contributing immensely to steady supply of protein diets to middle class population.

It is therefore extremely important that we sustain this urban agricultural poultry farming at whatever cost while also observing good agricultural practices.

The solution lies on a concept that has now taken the industry by storm; Bio-security. I will start by defining Bio-security, list the main 5 principals behind a good bio-security programme and vaccination as a pillar to flock health protection.

Read also: Cannibalism in Poultry: sings,causes and solutions

Bio-security simply means all measures which are undertaken to prevent viruses, bacteria, fungi, protozoa, parasites, insects, rodents, and wild birds from infecting your birds and causing harm.

Principle 1:

Everybody in the farm including workers, owners, family members, drivers etc living in your farm or is a regular visitor must be explained to or taught what bio-security means and the impact of not following a good programme and consequences a breach may cause to your flocks.

Principle 2:

The immediate environment of your flock is considered ‘clean’ and everything outside the environment is considered ‘dirty’. Anything that moves from the ‘dirty’ area to the ‘clean’ area should be clean and disinfected. You should build flock units with barriers to lock out unwanted visitors from your flock units.

Principle 3:

Each site (and area!) should have the smallest number of bird types and ages consistent with the business objectives. You should avoid keeping birds of different ages in one unit and restrain from keeping eg ducks with broiler, layers, quails etc under one roof or in close proximity. You should physically erect barriers to keep one age and type of bird in its own environment where they can be fed, watered and vaccinated in isolation.

Read also: Layer management and egg production

Principle 4:

Appropriate decontamination procedures should be in place between one crop and the next. In this case we consider everything that had contact with the previous flock to be ‘dirty’ until it is effectively cleaned, sanitised and disinfected. The units, feeders, waterers, uniforms, nest boxes etc used in the previous flocks must be subjected to decontamination process and a 14-21 days rest period before restocking.

Principle 5:

Farm inputs like feed and water which are the largest flock intake must be sourced from reputable manufacturers and sources. Contaminated feed can cause enteric infections, nutritional diahorea, Typhoid etc while dirty water can bring in E.coli infections, Navel ill and other poultry disease. You must treat your water through chlorination every week. You must also source your wood shavings from reliable sources that are not contaminated by wild birds fecal material.

Vaccination:

Proper vaccination is an essential part of a good poultry management programme and for the success of any poultry operation. Effective preventive procedures such as immunisation protect hundreds of millions of poultry worldwide from many contagious and deadly diseases and have resulted in improved flock health and production efficiency.

Immunisation cannot be a substitute for poor biosecurity and sanitation. Thus, vaccination programmes may not totally protect birds that are under stress or in unhygienic conditions.

The primary objective of immunising any poultry flock is to reduce the level of clinical disease and to promote optimal performance.

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